Rocketship Charter Schools believe that parent participation is fundamental to their student’s success. This belief is held so strongly that parents are involved in the hiring decisions for teachers. This charter school network started in San Jose, California in 2007, and now includes 13 schools.
Preston Smith, CEO and co-founder, has said in interviews that parental involvement is one of the fundamental principles of the school’s philosophy. Other aspects of their philosophy include an individualized and blended learnin style.
Parents receive training on how to conudct panel interviews. Sometimes they are involved in the interview. Sometimes they hold a community meeting with finalists. Either way they have some input on the process. This parental involvement allows candidates to see if the job is the right one. Smith remembers one candidate who left during a community meeting, because she was not ready for that type of involvement. Parents get to know what type of person will be working with their child.
Parental involvement has been done before. In the 1990s, the LA Unified School district involved parents in the process. The teacher parent relationship is an important one, so getting to know the personality of the teacher is crucial.
Rocketship believes in instilling a sense of gratitude in their students. It is one of the core values that is imbedded within the school culture. Each student had to write one thing they were grateful for and the student’s name. At the end of the week, each student receives seven things other students wrote about them. Through this core value and others,Rocketship provides a positive school climate that helps children in the poverty areas that Rocketship students come from. Students in those income brackets typically deal with more toxic stress.
A social-emotional learning curriculum helps students to learn how to cope and deal with certain situations. It helps them to be more productive students and eventually more productive citizens.